Monday, May 28, 2007

Calgary Transit Strike coming Friday

The ATU's Calgary Transit Local delivered 72 hour strike notice to our mayor about three hours ago. The 24 hour strike will start at 3 AM Friday morning. Purely coincidentally I'm sure, that's just in time for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities when Calgary is hosting 2100 municipal leaders. Ahem.

So the city could be said to have something focusing their minds on a solution before Friday - hopefully they'll start getting serious. I depend on the C-Train for work so I will be braving whatever management scabbed transit service can be arranged on Friday, but I won't be horribly upset if slowly moving picketers are crossing in front of the train at every intersection.

I also won't be terribly surprised if the city responds to this 24 hour job action with a full lock-out, they show every sign of playing from a labour relations play book from 10 or 20 years ago. However, even if they had the leverage to make the union suck it with a crap settlement - which they frankly don't - they already have serious recruitment and retention problems so it would be the definition of a Pyrrhic victory.

This will be interesting to watch; Calgary is less than a decade ahead of the hardcore employee market curve the rest of the country will be facing as the boomers all begin to retire or die at once.

It's interesting isn't it, how the bosses worship the untrammeled purity of the free market - until it begins to favour workers. Then they're the first in line to demand a thumb on the scale, whether it's a super exploitative guest workers program, community abandonment through overseas outsourcing or in extremis, demanding deliberate employment suppression through artificially raising interest rates.

Remember to big business interests, low unemployment is a bad thing.

Update: Due to the 72 hour notice being faxed when it had to be hand delivered, the 24 hour strike will now begin at 12:30 PM Friday. So I'll be able to get to work but may have some trouble getting home. Yay.

Update 2: As of 5:30 PM Wednesday May the 30th, CBC Calgary is reporting the union and city have come to an agreement - pending acceptance by the union members there will be no strike.

See: Calgary alderman wants union strike power banned

2 comments:

Polly Jones said...

It will be interesting to see what happens.

Kuri said...

It's interesting isn't it, how the bosses worship the untrammeled purity of the free market - until it begins to favour workers.

Absolutely!

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